My freshman year at Embry-Riddle has officially come to a close with me passing my checkride and becoming a private pilot! I am currently in the midst of packing up and waiting on the phone call to get my temporary pilot certificate.
I left off my last blog entry with two airshows to highlight; the New Smyrna Balloon and Skyfest, and Sun n’ Fun. The New Smyrna airshow was definitely a treat as it was the debut of Kyle Franklin’s new airplane called Dracula. One of my friends described it as a what a plane would be if a Pitts, Geebee, and Waco had a kid. The performance of that airplane was incredible! Some quick stats on the airplane: It is powered by a 500hp supercharged fuel-injected radial engine, the G rating on it is +/-12g’s, and Vne (Never Exceed speed) does not exist because the airplane won’t be able to go that fast. The airplane also sported one of the most beautifully done fabric finishes I have ever seen on an airplane
At that airshow, I was able to see Kyle Franklin, Matt Younkin, and Manfred Radius. One of my friends and I helped Manfred solder sparklers onto his wingtips for his night airshow. What does he hold them onto the airplane with? Duct tape!
A couple of us were planning to go to the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction in West Palm Beach the day after the New Smyrna airshow, but decided against it because we were all still battling the lingering effects of colds.
The next airshow was Sun n’ Fun, one of the biggest airshows in the United States. A group of us went out Friday afternoon ignoring the forecast for thunderstorms. We arrived just in time for the night airshow. This was the first night airshow I have seen and it was one of the cooler things I’ve seen at airshows.
Since one of my friends works for an airshow performer, we were able to camp out underneath his Piaggio twin gull seaplane.
Before the airshow, we spent the day in the performer hangar looking at all the pretty airplanes and talking with some of the airshow performers. One real treat I got to see was one of the original batmobiles and original batcopter from the 1960s TV show.
During the week, they were forecasting thunderstorms for the weekend. The airshow never saw a drop of rain the entire time we were there. Instead, it was hot! I overheard a guy saying it was 134 degrees on the tarmac.
The airshow went on, and we enjoyed another treat. Matt Chapman and world renowned RC pilot, Quique Somenzini flew formation aerobatics. This was the first time this had been done at an airshow, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
We decided to leave the airshow early and head home because we only got four hours of sleep and after spending a day in the Florida heat, we were tired. On the way back, a friend recommended a BBQ restaurant called Four Rivers to stop and eat dinner. When we got there the line went out the building, and wrapped around the corner. After a wait of only 30 minutes, I ate the best ribs I’ve ever had in my life! It turns out this restaurant was voted the best BBQ in Florida and one of the top 50 best BBQ’s in the United States.
The next two weeks consisted of continuing to prep for checkride, and for finals as well. The amount of model airplane flying dropped to only about six flights for about two weeks because of the semester coming to a close and needing to study for finals. However, on the study day, the RC club hosted the electric indoor fly-in.
This was a lot of fun and I got to fly my foamie for a little while. I ended up crashing it when I got out of sync in the rolling harrier. I never bothered to fix it because the plane didn’t fly that well, so my friend Jim let me fly his foamies for the rest of the day.
The next week was a stressful one, having to study for finals, pack up my room, and study for my checkride. I got through it all, and passed the oral portion of my checkride. The next week was just a waiting game on when to be scheduled for my flight. I was one of about 130 others waiting to get scheduled as well. I finally got scheduled but had to incomplete the flight, so I continued to wait to get scheduled. Three attempts later (scheduling conflicts and weather), I finally got to go up and finish up the checkride, and I passed! That brings me to today where I am waiting on the call to go pick up my temporary pilot certificate, and in the meantime packing up my belongings in preparation to fly home for the summer.
This school year was one for the books. I made some great friends, attended many airshows, built model airplanes in my dorm room, along with many other “shenanigans.” I’ll end this entry with a little slide show of some of the pictures I took throughout the year.
Hope everyone found the blog interesting, informative, and helped make your decision on what college to attend. I’ll be writing the blogs again in the fall semester, so I’ll be back!